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|???metadata.dc.contributor???: ||D'Aponte, Tullio|
|Title: ||THE ENLARGEMENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION: GEOPOLITICAL SCENARIOS AND GEOECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES|
|Abstract: ||When this paper will be published the new EU enlargement will have been accomplished.
From May 1st 2004, ten Central and Eastern European and two Mediterranean countries will
officially enter the Union. These countries are the three Baltic Republics (Estonia, Latvia and
Lithuania), Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Slovakian Republic, Slovenia and the
two Mediterranean islands of Malta and Cyprus.
These countries will be entitled to take part to the next Intergovernmental Conference that
may adopt the new Union Treaty (an actual Constitution based on the European Convention);
they will also participate to the European elections for the renewal of the European
Parliament, which will be held right after the enlargement, in June 2004.
The text of the closing statement of the Copenhagen European Council says that "this
result proves European people's common determination to merge into a single Union that has
become the driving force for the achievement of peace, democracy, stability and prosperity in
This powerful and crucial statement crosses out past tensions, latent conflicts, difficult
dialogue between two areas of the same continent: the Western area, a market context
dominated by the Atlantic influence, and the Eastern area, intent on experimenting with a form
of society that was based on the concepts of real communism. At the geopolitical level, the
transition from a form of co-operation that is focused on mainly mercantilist principles to a
configuration that is driven mainly by the progressive accentuation of a tangible political
integration represents an extraordinary opportunity for the new European Union to play a
much more incisive role on the global scenario during the years to come.
At the same time, in explicitly pragmatic terms, one cannot underestimate the fact that
such a broad area has a primary influence on internal market transformations, on European
labour market division, on the new opportunities that will arise from a growing international
competitiveness. In order to understand the extent and the perspectives of the process
triggered by the new enlargement, and to reflect over the challenge that the new Parliament
and Commission will have to face, a brief account of geopolitical and geoeconomic evolution
of the Union is appropriate.
The original integration process was conceived in order to favour economic aspects
mainly, although the contrasts between East and West during the 50s were so tense that the
entire Eastern front was openly exposed to the danger of Soviet penetration, which threatened
especially the UK and USA.
An emphasis on internal European relationship in terms of regional economies in such a
context may have seemed absurd without considering the actual awareness of an 'impossible'
overcoming of that fence, the Berlin Wall, which would restrain any 'political' enlargement of
After all, the post-war race for welfare urged to concentrate all efforts on the economic
'reconstruction' of Europe, focusing all Community partners' attention on some significant
interventions both by ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community), and EURATOM; the
former aimed at revaluating troubled industrial areas that were involved in conversion
processes of steel activities, and the latter dealt with cooperation in the field of nuclear
research for peaceful aims. Inevitably, with the Treaty of Rome, the first six European partners
tackled the problem of supporting underdeveloped regional economies: the main goal was
bringing Italian Mezzogiorno and Southwestern French territories closer to more dynamic and
active regions such as Lorraine, Île de France, Dutch Randstad and north-western Italian
industrial triangle (Compagna, 1973).[...]|
|Is part of: ||Proceedings of the Conference THE CULTURAL TURN IN GEOGRAPHY, 18-20th of September 2003 - Gorizia Campus|
Part VII: Cultural Geography and Geopolitics
|Appears in Collections:||The cultural turn in geography|
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